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Posts Tagged ‘riders’

BITW-HelmetAs I write this I’m reminded that I was flying home from Barcelona, Spain about this time last year after a long work week at an industry event and that every year in business is different.

A few years are easy, some are hard, and most are somewhere in between. Each year you face a different set of circumstances: changing economic, political, social and what’s cool in the billet industry.

We know from the Discovery Channel which scripted a mini-series project about the history of Harley-Davidson, that in the early years the company really struggled to survive. From month to month, they worked hard to keep from getting further behind and sinking further into debt.  There were the AMF years and then came the housing bubble.  Those of you who have tried or are establishing a little business of your own know that success is much harder than you envisioned it should be. Many folks think there must be “one big thing” they are missing that if discovered and remedied would turn things around and put them on the path to major prosperity.

Clearly, that isn’t the case, and over the course of a few startup years often you learn that rather than “one big thing,” there are many functions throughout the business that had to get established in good working order for the business to really succeed.

After 114 years, this still holds true for Harley-Davidson. There are no guarantees or shortcuts to success. There is only doing the hard work that needs to be done, doing it to the highest standards, and identifying the next area to establish or improve in order to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson rides and riders to control their destiny.

All of this became acute over the last week when Harley announced their Q4 and full-year 2016 financial results (HERE).

Words like “intense competition, flat market, soft sales, and earnings miss” ruled the day.

These are just words.  I’m of the viewpoint that how well any company performs is a key factor in how well they succeed compared to their competition.  Since we’re a few days before Super Bowl — a sports analogy is in order — how well a team executes ALL aspects of their game has everything to do with whether they win or lose.

Obviously taste in motorcycle brands, styles, or in paint schemes, is subjective. Some in the press have beaten down the overall market with reports that seem to indicate the riding “fad” has ended. Granted there’s been negative publicity with Polaris shutting down the Victory Motorcycle brand and overall motorcycle industry earnings not being great, but there are many very nice motorcycles being made, and WE the riding enthusiasts/public have lots of choices.

Why do I bring this up?

I’ve notice in my travels that many successful companies have a sense that they are masters of their own fate; their success is within their control. They know it’s a myriad of little things done well that add up to their success. And no matter what their size, they realize that a company always has the resources at hand to take their next step. Isn’t that really the “art” of it: to creatively employ existing resources to advance the ride, the employees and the company?

Most of us know the answer to a problem is rarely found outside the company; it usually comes from within.  I’m confident that Harley-Davidson will find the answers and simply function better as an organization.  I predict they will do a more thorough job of performing the functions a successful motorcycle company needs to and roll out compelling new products that will be industry hits.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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SurveyThe Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC) is once again looking for rider feedback. 

They want highway rider input from across the U.S. and your answers to the survey will be used to help state and federal highway administrators better understand and plan for the needs of motorcyclists. The survey can be accessed HERE until August 1, 2009.

Note that the questions are separated into 3 distinct rider settings typically experienced by most motorcyclists: Urban Areas (city/suburban/frequent intersections/pedestrians); Rural Areas (fewer intersections/higher speed); and Limited Access Areas (freeway/highway/toll road/minimal intersections). The survey will ask you to consider these settings carefully when answering the questions as riding experiences vary significantly in each domain.

A comments section is included at the end of each page to highlight anything you may feel was overlooked, but I doubt my comment on removing advertisements and bill boards alongside county roads will get much attention.  The survey takes less than 7 minutes so, give it a go.

Screen shot courtesy of Survey Monkey.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Calling all motorcycle riders to the Oregon Riders internet forum.

If you’re unfamiliar with an internet forum, or message board – its a bulletin board system in the form of a discussion site.  From a technology viewpoint, forums or “boards” are web applications managing user-generated content.  They allow anonymous visitors to view the contents, but registering (an easy less than 5-minute process) allows users to submit topics for discussion (known as threads) and communicate with each other using publicly visible messages (referred to as posts) or private messaging.

In an effort to reach out to a broader set of riders across the state, Don Mason (Coordinator, Hub City ABATE Chapter) has created a new concept called the Oregon Riders forum.  He’s running this site simply for his interests in motorcycling and it’s separate from ABATE.  Thanks Don for your support and a quick shout-out to “Windy Joe” for illuminating the site.

This forum was created to do several things:

  1. To give riders in Oregon a single place to get information and share their love of riding and the bike lifestyle.
  2. To provide a place for real-time discussion and collaboration for MRO’s and other groups throughout the state.
  3. To provide a place for MRO’s and other riding groups to announce and find what is going on for riders in the Northwest.

This forum is for ALL riders and is not affiliated with, influenced by, or run by, any specific organization.

The intent is to build and hopefully have a thriving forum… a “hangout” if you will for Oregon riders who are involved, talking to each other, and getting together for rides, events and legislative issues.  There are a lot of riders in Oregon and it would be cool to see large numbers of people “virtually” gathering.

Check it out, register and join the discussion.  See you on the “boards.”

Photo courtesy Oregon Riders web site.

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Girls Oatman It’s true. Just like there are differences in how men and women communicate there are differences in how they ride.

Whether you’re at work, at home or going for a Harley ride, understanding these gender-related differences – and learning the “tips and tricks” will help you navigate through them.

For example:

You’ll never hear a guy say:

  • Here honey, let me ride “bitch”
  • Do these chaps make my belly look big?
  • I know we just filled up, but lets stop and grab a latte
  • You’ll never hear a gal say:

  • Don’t stop for directions, I’m sure you’ll be able to figure it out
  • I can sure feel the difference of the $4000 in that “103” kit
  • Let’s smile at that car load of college girls
  • If you don’t get these differences then stop reading here. The biker babe is somewhat stereotypical, but it does make a point. Traveling with the opposite sex can be incredibly fun, entertaining, but if you’re not careful or didn’t think it thru it can be frustrating.

    In fact, Female riders are no longer satisfied hanging on to their significant other and want to grab the handlebars and do their own gig. I’ve never had the pleasure of a female lead driving our posse on a route. I’m sure it will soon come and I expect it be uneventful. How do I know this?

    The demographics for female motorcyclists are:

  • 1 in 10 motorcycle owners is a woman
  • In ’03 of the 23.5M people in the U.S. that operated a motorcycle about 4.3M were women
  • Median age of female motorcyclist is 42
  • 28% of female motorcyclist have a college or post-grad degree
  • 35% of female motorcyclist are in a technical/professional occupation
  • (Source: 2003 Motorcycle Industry Council (most recent))

    As you can see above women are straddling Bold Blue with flame motorcycles. Mostly for the same reason men ride – desire of freedom, relaxing from stress, friendship, garage parties, camaraderie. Now you know why the cycle industry is trying to figure out “How to speak to women?” There are a couple hundred “Queens Together” or “Chicks ‘N Chaps” motorcycle clubs for the sisterhood. In the Northwest there is GRIP (Girls Riding Independently Proud – “Gripsters”) and a couple other groups Women in the Wind (WIW) and Chrome Divas out of South Florida. The “Divas” are women only…both riders and passengers…hummmm?

    This isn’t about who can ride more aggressive or wrench a spark plug best. I really wanted to acknowledge the fact that more riders are women and that we need to understand the differences in how we communicate. I suspect many don’t give a hoot what I think. If the truth be told I got a fortune cookie after eating Chinese and it stated You should enhance your feminine side at this time…so, here is a blog about women…?!

    Point being that if we don’t learn to communicate better (at work, at home or going for a Harley ride) — that off-ramp you just took might be a result of “Sally” checking out a broken finger nail…not a right turn signal! I couldn’t resist.

    Yes, honey I’ll gladly sleep on the sofa tonight… Have I told you how wonderful you look in those chaps?! What color roses do you like?

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